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Nepal: Adhikari Death Highlights Injustice

Investigate, Prosecute Conflict-Era Crimes

(New York) – The government of Nepal has failed for over a decade to deliver justice for the killing of Krishna Prasad Adhikari. In protest his father, Nanda Prasad Adhikari, died on September 22, 2014, after over 300 days on hunger strike, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Human Rights Watch said today.

Nanda Prasad Adhikari and his wife, Ganga Maya Adhikari, began their hunger strike on October 23, 2013, to protest the failure of successive Nepali governments to ensure a credible investigation of the killing in 2004 of their son, allegedly by members of the United Communist Party of Nepal–Maoists (UCPN-M).

The ICJ and Human Rights Watch called on the Nepali government to protect the human rights of Ganga Maya Adhikari, who is reported to be in critical but stable condition in Kathmandu’s Bir Hospital. She continues to refuse food even after her husband’s death.

“Nanda Prasad Adhikari made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of justice for his son, but it should never have come to this sad moment,” said Sam Zarifi, regional director for Asia and the Pacific at ICJ. “The Adhikari couple symbolizes the thousands of people in Nepal who demand justice for the violations and abuses they suffered at the hands of the government’s armed forces as well as the Maoists.”

Despite several promises by the government, there has been little movement towards accountability for Krishna Adhikari’s death. In September 2013, after initial protests by the Adhikari couple, Nepali authorities announced that they would follow the Supreme Court’s directive to investigate the killing.

One year later, in April 2014, the Chitwan District Attorney filed charges against 13 people allegedly involved in the killing of Krishna Prasad Adhikari. But when two men were arrested and produced in court, UCPN-M leaders protested, with leader Babu Ram Bhattarai saying publicly that if Parsuram Poudel, one of the accused, could be arrested, the government should arrest Bhattarai as well. After three days of protests and threats by the UCPN-M, the Chitwan District Court granted bail to the two suspects. The case is still pending in court.

Throughout this period, the Adhikaris continued their hunger strike, pointing out serious flaws and shortcomings in the investigation carried out by Nepali authorities.

“Nepali politicians should stop making empty promises and investigate all allegations of human rights abuses and violations during the conflict,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Nanda Prasad Adhikari’s death highlights Nepal’s flawed attempts at reconciliation and redress for conflict-era crimes, and looks like a desire to sweep all wartime injustice under the rug.”

The Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) that ended the conflict in 2006 explicitly recognizes Nepal’s obligations under international human rights law without reservation. The CPA is unequivocal about the need to investigate and prosecute human rights violations in line with Nepal’s laws. A promised Truth and Reconciliation Commission remains stalled, and the draft legislation to promulgate it is deeply flawed.

The ICJ and Human Rights Watch called on Nepali authorities to continue investigations and prosecutions for Krishna Adhikari’s death, as well as hundreds of unresolved cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. 

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